How do we know Jesus Christ is the true Messiah?
How do we know Jesus Christ is the true Messiah? For the most part, I believe He is...but a small little niggling part of me wonders, what if I'm wrong? I want to go to heaven! I started questioning when a very dear friend of mine, who was always a believer, told me she doesn't believe in Jesus anymore. She still believes in God, she said, and will not stop believing in Him, but she has doubts about Jesus. This is a very intelligent person, whose opinions and choices I've always respected and trusted. Although I'd like to think that no human being could change my ideas about religion, I realized that I COULD be wrong. I mean, who am I? If I am wrong, I want to be corrected. I want to please God. And if I'm right, I want to share this with my friend. I want to lead her to the truth so she will become a Christian. I've prayed about this, and I'm asking now for your help to understand.
If you believe that the Old Testament is the word of God, then you must believe that Jesus is the Messiah. He is proclaimed as such from Genesis to Malachi. He fulfilled each prophecy, from the place and time of his birth to the place and manner of his death.
Further, if you believe that the New Testament is the word of God, then, of course, you must believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The New Testament explains how Jesus fulfills each prophecy, and the eyewitness testimony in that book provides concrete confirmation. Jesus' resurrection from the dead is a fact of history that is so sure and certain we should question the sanity of anyone who disbelieves it. Jesus Christ rose from the dead! He is the savior of the world!
As for your friend, she needs to understand that she cannot have the Father apart from the Son. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the father apart from him. And that is true for every person no matter what their background or their station in life.
Finally, you mention, "I could be wrong. I mean, who am I?" Yes, you could be wrong -- but God cannot be wrong. His word cannot be wrong. Your faith in Jesus is not based on your feelings or whims -- it is based on the unchanging word of God. Everything we know about Jesus and about his gospel is found in that book. If your faith is wavering, then turn to God's word and read the testimony about his Son, the Messiah.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)